• If Twins Will Trade Justin Morneau, There's A Way Toward Contention

    Morneau's departure could mean some big arrivals for the Twins.According to the Washington Post, the only legitimately good first baseman on the free agent market, Adam LaRoche, is in talks to re-sign with the Nationals. In the 2013 Offseason Handbook, I think the next best option we found was Carlos Lee, who slugged just .365 (and is 36 years old.) Whatís more, there arenít a lot of good options on the free agent market to move to first base. For instance, Kevin Youkilis is available at third base, but if he can play third base (and it looks like he can) heíll be signed as a third baseman.

    The last couple of years, the market has not been so thin. Last year, of course, was epically good, with Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder leading the charge. 2010 had Paul Konerko, but also Aubrey Huff, LaRoche, Carlos Pena and Lance Berkman. 2009 was thin, but 2008 had Mark Teixeira leading the class. Itís been years since we had a free agent first baseman sign for less than $6M, but that will almost certainly happen if LaRoche returns to the Nationals.

    This presents a unique opportunity to the Twins, if they choose to embrace it.

    In our 45-minute interview with Terry Ryan for the Offseason Handbook, he stated that 1B/OF Chris Parmelee will get every opportunity to play every day. While manager Ron Gardenhire says heís satisfied with Parmeleeís defense in right field, the rest of the organization has shown no such endorsement. Indeed, in AAA-Rochester this year, he didnít play a single game there.

    Moving incumbent Justin Morneau would not only make space for Parmelee, but free up $14 million to purchase starting pitching in a free agent market thick with it. Even if the Twins received nothing in return, thatís enough money to sign any starter except Zach Greinke. Ask yourself, would you trade Morneau for Jake Peavy, Dan Haren, or Anibal Sanchez? If you would, it makes sense to trade away Morneau for nothing more than a bag of bricks.

    Fortunately, for the Twins, that might not be necessary. There are not shortage of teams that struggled mightily at first base last year. SEVEN teams had an OPS lower less than 700 last year, and even the Rangers first basemen hit just .251/.301/.399. For a team struggling to fill major needs on a lower budget, the thin first base market is a godsend. If the Twins can find the will, there is almost certainly a way to bounce back quickly.
    This article was originally published in blog: If Twins Will Trade Justin Morneau, There's A Way Toward Contention started by John Bonnes
    Comments 53 Comments
    1. jredasse's Avatar
      jredasse -
      Still not sold on Parmelee at first base.....If they can get a "decent, solid" starter for Morneau, it may be a good move.... but in the mean time, who takes over 1st Base????
      Still need some hitting to win some games.......
    1. SgtSchmidt11's Avatar
      SgtSchmidt11 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Physics Guy View Post
      I agree that they might have interest in Span, but in no way is that enough to seal the deal. Just a guess here, but Span, Arcia and Hermsen might do it, but that probably isn't enough.
      If this is about trading for Andrus, I would hope the Twins tell the Rangers to pack sand. No way Span and Arcia = Andrus.
    1. beckmt's Avatar
      beckmt -
      I am more in trading Span and Parmalee to a cost concious team for pitching. We would have to eat some of Morneau's salary and still not get the return we want.
    1. Danchat's Avatar
      Danchat -
      Quote Originally Posted by beckmt View Post
      I am more in trading Span and Parmalee to a cost concious team for pitching. We would have to eat some of Morneau's salary and still not get the return we want.
      Then why trade away Parmalee if we don't get a return we want? Morneau will be gone after 2013, so why send Parmalee away, who'll likely become a solid 1B? If we're trading Parmalee...we better get someone good. Someone who will be good for awhile with the Twins.
    1. Brandon's Avatar
      Brandon -
      I think you let Parmalee play RF at the start of next season. if he hits well then he could be a good trade chip. Also if Profar proves he is ready and around July or after next season, there could be a trade potential for Andrus at that time. Parmalee and ? for Andrus.

      Also if Morneau hits well and stays healthy he will get signed to an extension. His wife is from Minnesota and he is established here why would he want to go somewhere else if he gets paid decently and we are competetive.
    1. ericchri's Avatar
      ericchri -
      I'm onboard with trading Morneau, but I'm not sure you're getting any value from him right now. I think I'd be inclined to trade him and eat some of his salary for a couple A-ball flamethrowers and hope one of them pans out. Honestly, I think I'd probably be more inclined to hold onto him until the deadline next year to see where things stand in hopes his value increases (or the Twins are in contention). Signing 3 FA pitchers to semi-long-term deals seems almost guaranteed to have one of them bust.

      Finding playing time for Parmelee means one of Morneau/Span/Revere/Willingham has to go. Or, god forbid, actually using management skills and finding a rotation amongst those 5 plus Doumit and Mauer which gives everybody an occasional game off. I know somebody posted it somewhere on the board previously, but I'm too lazy to look for it. With 3 OF spots, C, 1B, and DH you have 6 positions to fill with 7 players. It wouldn't seem far-fetched to believe you could set it up so each of those guys gets a day off each week instead of jerking Parmelee around (plus you actually have a semi-legit PH option for every game). Then again, I'll be shocked if Span isn't traded this offseason, so the problem goes away (sort of, until Hicks/Arcia are ready).
    1. Dilligaf69's Avatar
      Dilligaf69 -
      Quote Originally Posted by johnnydakota View Post
      texas is looking to find starting catching , why not pawn smokin joe on them for say profar and olt, maybe throw in hermsen and escobar
      then trade morneau to toronto with liam hendriks and herrmenn for dŠrnaud , that would free up 37 million give us a quality left side of the infield and a offensive catcher , with the money we could make a run at grienke and sanchez and still have some jingle in pohlads jeans

      Ok....for the 10 millionth time...the Twins are NOT trading Joe Mauer!!!! and porobably couldn't if they wanted to. Why do people continue to concern themselves with things that have little or in this case likely NO chance of happening. BTW what Sanchez are you talking about...not the one who failed with K.C I hope??
    1. Dilligaf69's Avatar
      Dilligaf69 -
      I agree we probably hang onto Morneau until the dealine and hope he stays healthy and then get a bigger return. Unless they get a great offer this winter this is what probably will happen.
    1. Dilligaf69's Avatar
      Dilligaf69 -
      Quote Originally Posted by SgtSchmidt11 View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Physics Guy View Post
      I agree that they might have interest in Span, but in no way is that enough to seal the deal. Just a guess here, but Span, Arcia and Hermsen might do it, but that probably isn't enough.
      If this is about trading for Andrus, I would hope the Twins tell the Rangers to pack sand. No way Span and Arcia = Andrus.


      Oh God NO!!!!
    1. gil4's Avatar
      gil4 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Kwak View Post
      While the thread mentioned that even receiving nothing serves as a fine "salary dump", that sort of trade (cf Young or Hardy) is downright foolish.
      Young? Who is he? (Don't miss him a bit. We won that trade.)

      The Hardy trade was foolish, not because we dumped the salary, but because we had no viable alternative. After we dumped the salary, we turned around a signed Nishi for slightly less than it would have cost to sign Hardy. It was a major gamble that bombed and left us without a shortstop.

      First base is usually easier to fill because the defensive demands are much less. I'm not sure what we have in Parmalee, but I think he's a better gamble than Nishi was. Mauer can sub there some. I bet Doumit could as well. I know Willingham is pretty limited defensively, but has he ever played first?

      If Morneau was a free agent right now, would you give him $14M? I think my answer is no, but i'm not sure.
    1. Siehbiscuit's Avatar
      Siehbiscuit -
      My first question for EVERYONE here is..."How can we address our weaknesses the quickest?"

      Trading Morneau will NOT get us a great prospect, because his value is too low. He has the potential to become very good again, but the potential to never recover is likely just as high.

      Quality pitching HAS to be addressed in FA. Span, Willingham or Morneau will not produce elite pitching unless we are willing to wait until 2015 or later to see them.

      Pitching, middle infield AND even 3B is a bigger priority than doing something with our first baseman. If it was guarnteed that the Pohlads would spend the $14 million on a proven FA then I wouldn't mind a salary dump. History has shown us that the Pohlads don't operate like that. Keep Morneau and hope he can regain his old form to move him at the deadline or to re-sign to an extension. Trading him gets us nothing for 2013.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Is it more or less likely Ryan spends money on free agent pitching if he has Justin's salary on the books?
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      Given the needs, trading Morneau or Span for AA pitching is not necessarily a bad idea. It might mean a few 1 year prove it deals over the next year or two, but given the derth of pitching in the high minors, it isn't a bad option.
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